BMW M Motorsport returns to Australia after an enforced three-year absence. BMW M Team WRT will undertake its first works-supported race outing with the BMW M4 GT3 at the Bathurst 12 Hour, the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, in February 2023.
This is followed by the GT World Challenge Europe which begins in April 2023. The two cars will be occupied by top-class drivers, including nine-time motorcycle world champion Valentino Rossi (ITA), who will share the #46 BMW M4 GT3 with BMW M works drivers Maxime Martin (BEL) and Augusto Farfus (BRA).
Challenging for top results in the #32 car will be the two new BMW M works drivers Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts (both BEL), together with DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde (RSA).
“It is fantastic to return to this legendary motorsport venue with BMW M Motorsport for the first time since 2020, and to see the BMW M4 GT3 in action for the first time at the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst,” said Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport.
“There is something magical about the event, and we hope to be able to convey that magic on the track. We feel the prospects of a strong debut from the BMW M4 GT3 and BMW M Team WRT are very good. The combination of a strong team and equally strong drivers means we can approach the 12 hours of racing with confidence and hope for good results. I am particularly pleased, on the driver side, to see some new faces in our cockpits, coupled with the proven class of Augusto Farfus and Sheldon van der Linde. The race in Bathurst forms the start of an intensive and, hopefully, successful season with BMW M Team WRT, which continues with the Kyalami 9 Hour in February and then in the GT World Challenge Europe.”
“I am delighted to have such strong driver line-ups for our programmes in the GT World Challenge Europe and the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Thank you to BMW M Motorsport for this fantastic opportunity,” said WRT team principal and CEO Vincent Vosse.
“I have been trying for a long time to work together with Maxime Martin in my team. It is awesome that this is now possible. I would also like to welcome Sheldon van der Linde back to the team having raced together a few years ago. He knows Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts well and I am sure they will form a strong team. Having Augusto Farfus, with all his know-how and experience, and Maxime alongside Valentino Rossi is also a fantastic combination. I can hardly wait for the 2023 season and to fight to bring trophies to Munich.”
Vanthoor and Weerts will contest all the sprint races in the GT World Challenge Europe as a duo, and will be supported by van der Linde in the endurance races.
“I am really pleased to continue my successful partnership with Charles in the GT World Challenge Europe. We have been very successful in the past three years, winning the title in the Sprint Cup,” said Vanthoor.
“The opposition will be even tougher in all the races, but I am confident that we will also be successful with the BMW M4 GT3, together with WRT and BMW M Motorsport. The front-engine car will be a change and a challenge for me, but my impressions from the initial tests have been very positive. The BMW M4 GT3 has great potential.”
Weerts said: “Our goal for the Sprint Cup is obviously to challenge for our fourth title in a row, even if I still need to adapt to the BMW M4 GT3 a little better. It is also fantastic to get to know new circuits and to race at Bathurst for the first time in my career.”
Maxime Martin will contest the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup together with Valentino Rossi. Providing valuable support as the third driver in the Endurance Cup and in Bathurst will be Augusto Farfus.
“I am looking forward to the new challenge on my return to BMW M Motorsport,” said Martin.
“Working with BMW M Team WRT and Valentino Rossi will definitely be a fantastic experience. I am also delighted to share a car with my friend Augusto Farfus again, and hopefully to pick up some wins.”
Rossi said: “I’m very happy to continue my collaboration with the WRT team in 2023. This will be an important season as we will have a new car. The tests with the BMW M4 GT3 have been very good so far. I can’t wait to go racing with it.”